Landless Dalits grab govt’s land

RUKUM: Sixteen Dalit 'landless' families of Athbiskot have erected huts on two ropanis of land belonging to District Agriculture Development Office, Rukum.

Nepal Dalit Mukti Morcha Rajya Samiti has declared that the squatters would hold on to the land until the government resettled them.

Last year, Chetana BK, Sushila BK and Urmila BK had lost their lives when their hut caught fire. According to Gangaram Chanara, Rukum secretary of the Morcha, the landless Dalits had been working as domestic helps. He said the outfit had been helping the squatters in generating income with the fund received from the VDC.

Dalit Development Fund Rukum has also provided one pig to each family. The new settlers have been facing the problems of food and clothing. Three boys and two girls of the community passed this year's SLC exam but lack money for further education. Gita Chanara, one of the graduates, said, "I have no means to support my higher education.”

The so-called higher castes still discriminate against the Dalits, who fear to revolt and are unaware about their rights. Gangaram said the Dalits were still barred from visiting temples, using taps and attending functions.